SYDNEY, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Deforestation is changing the behaviour of bees and threatening our crops, research from the University of Western Australia, Curtin University and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation has concluded.
"Using radioactive markers to measure the metabolic rates of honeybees unconstrained in their natural environments, we showed that they significantly reduced their energetic expenditure in a highly degraded habitat," researchers said on Wednesday.
The project discovered that it requires much more energy to hunt for food in a deforested habitat, so bees are forced to rely on stockpiles of food from their hive.
"This has caused a significant decrease in their activity, movements, and ultimately in their pollination activity," researchers said.
The consequences could be significant for agricultural industries because everything from potatoes, citrus, cabbage, fruits, coffee, sunflower, nuts and beans rely on bees to pollinate the crops seeds.
"The activity of insect pollinators may be constrained by mismatches between their energetic requirements and the resources available in their ecosystem," researches said.
"Metabolic rates and nectar consumption differed significantly between natural and degraded landscapes."
The study funded by the Research Council of Australia also concluded that "for non-social insects that cannot fall back on stored resources the impacts of habitat degradation may be even more significant."